This is a common refrain from people who have started using logic to understand religion. Specifically Hinduism. The origin of this statement also comes from how the poets and commentators have equated how people go to look for god in a Church or a Mosque and “He” isn’t there, so why does one go to a temple either?
There are a lot of assumptions in this.
First, going to the temple is not about God. It is about you. Temples were created as tools using the Agama Shastra to energize the space in a way that could help someone connect to something beyond himself/herself. Often our inner energies are in turmoil and need balancing out. Temples with their consecrated spaces were for just that. There were temples of different types – Kul-devam temple, Panch-bhutam temple and temples for specific sadhana. The goal was to make an energy intervention in your overall energy body to align it in some way. It was about YOU. Not God.
Why do Hindus do Idol Worship? A Scientific and Spiritual exploration
God really doesn’t need anything to reside, if it is indeed God.
This brings us to second assumption in the statement. How does one even know that God is everywhere? Do the people who make such statements so casually even think about what they are saying? Have they ever seen God, forget seeing it everywhere?! If you have not experienced God anywhere, isn’t it rather stupid to announce it is everywhere?
At best its a hearsay. Ok, Krishna may have said this. So what? Have you experienced it? If no then why repeat what Krishna or Agastya Muni said? And if they said that, then please know that they also consecrated thousands of temples as well. So, how can you take one set of statements as sacrosanct unquestioned and question the other set from the same source?
The reason is – it looks logically interesting.
More importantly, it hurts one’s ego. How come when I can get something everywhere without effort, do I need to go to somewhere specific in a certain way? Why do I follow a rule… any rule?!
Somewhere we know instinctively that if we are to go to a specific place, it is us “on trial”.
It is our refusal to accept anything larger than ourselves that makes us shun any effort that needs to be done to know the truth of this entire creation itself. It has been easier for us to break down this existence with our arrogance and knowledge. IT is however very tough for us to know it the way it is without dissecting or displacing it. To dissolve ourselves into it and know first hand.
The word for the English word “worship” (somewhat though!) is “Upasana“. It means “being in position/place of”. Not literally. But in terms of consciousness. To do so, one needs to dissolve. That dissolution is the key to devotion and bhakti. That is what when we are ready to be bigger than our physical limitations. And, that is where temple comes in.
When we do our Sadhana, Yogis – powerful and knowledgeable – have consecrated spaces, which will enhance its quality and potency. Even if we aren’t doing Sadhana, the very presence in such a consecrated space can impact our energies in ways we cannot fathom. By going to the temple, we make use of that work done by so many in the past.
Going to the temple, where a consecrated space exists is also an acceptance that you need help. To hold hand and leverage someone else’s work to grow as a human being.
The yearning to give your hand to a force of existence far bigger than your mental and physical self is the reason why one goes to the temple. Not because of God! God doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you. Because honestly you and I don’t matter in the large scheme of things. After all, in the cosmos with not one but multiple Universes (Multi-verses), our Galaxy is not even a speck. And, in that our Solar System is also just a speck, if at all. In that Solar system, we are a small planet. On that, we are a small species. Is the cosmic God was only interested in us – then it would be a rather inefficient and useless god. And certainly not cosmic. So sorry to break your bubble, no god is sitting out there thinking of you.
You, on the contrary, may want to enhance your being to align itself to the infinite divine consciousness that pervades the existence. The ocean of infinite consciousness is flowing and raging. The question is are you equipped to surf it? (Read this to understand this better – Holi is to surf with the existence, not a victory of Good over Evil)
And, it is for that, that the yogis have left behind their work to be used. Temples are their work for your alignment. They have nothing to do with the God.
Featured Image: Flickr – the image is of Veerbhadra temple at Lepakshi. The imposing Shiva Lingam is carved out of a natural boulder to the west of the shrine, this seven-hooded Naga shelters a black-polished lingam cradled in its ribbed coils. A saptamatrika panel is placed below to the right. The temple was consecrated by Sage Agasthya when he stayed in this place.